After two futile attempts to gain admission into the university, I was thinking of where to buy the cheapest rope and which of the ceiling fans in the house to use when my dear brother called me. he said ”you will finally go to school, I discovered one American school and you’ll need to make a passport asap”.
Ehn? Americ what? I started calling my friends and made sure they spread the news to those who thought I would never have British accent in my entire life. My good friends kept calling to congratulate me. Some were apologising for not allowing me copy their physics class work back in high school while Those who laughed at me when I couldn’t answer physics question started sending me airtime. Hehe, I was the boss as I chose whose calls to or not to pick . if you were lucky enough, you’d get ”so what should I buy for you” at the end of our conversation. Some of the friends I couldn’t remember how we met, texted the names of people I would greet for them when I got to my diaspora. One said she would give me abacha(african salad) to give to Justin Bieber, the other one gave me the address of one of his uncles asking me to arrest him for running away with all his father’s money and refusing to send them anything not even a picture. I said OK OK as I wrote them all in my to-do list.
Days after, I was at the passport office making my first ever passport. I remember sitting like Queen Elizabeth and anyone who cared to say hi, I replied in my British accent -I wanted to enter America with British accent. The wait at the passport office was finally over. I won’t forget the look on one lady’s face when she said ”my dear when you get there don’t forget me o”. How can I forget? I intend writing it down in my to-do list –remember not to forget the woman at the passport office.
Days passed, my bro called again. He asked that I prepared myself as i was leaving the next day. I picked my phone, called my friends to tell them The next call they’d get from me would be in foreign number and if I called once they don’t pick, I won’t call again because of the International service banning. They asked if I had my ticket, I told them everything was already with the pilot at the airport .
Next morning I was in high spirit. I didn’t sleep all through the night. There were lots to fantasize about. The best part was how I’d come back with an oyibo boo boo whose best food will be cereals not the typical igbo man that will build our house close to river Niger so I’d soak the cassava myself inside the river before pounding the Fufu for him. I looked at my niece and wished she understood that that auntie who heard her cry all the time will only hear it from a distance now. I pecked my Sis in the American style as my brother was downstairs waiting in a cab. I shared 10 Naira to all the kids in my compound promising their mothers that when I return, I’d take them on an excursion to the airport to see planes. With all that settled, I and all my Ghana must go got in the cab. Thus began my half cast journey.
En route, things were getting suspicious when the driver took a turn other than that which led to the airport. I kept calm since my brother was calm. there probably was a shorter route I didn’t know of. Finally we arrived at a place and the cab man said ”make una wait Make I park well”
At that point I couldn’t hold It anymore ”Oga Abeg why are you parking well , does this look like the international airport to you”? At this rate I was close to swallowing his big head. ”when did they build Intl airport in mile 2 oga? I won’t miss my flight because of you, Holy Ghost fire”!
Before I could back my prophecy with some Bible quotes, my bro interrupted ‘‘which flight”? ”where do you think you’re going to”? ”the name of your school is North America university but it is not in America you hear? It is in Cotonou”.
Jesus!! Cotonou?? The only thing I Knew about Cotonou was Cotonou pineapple and how those women in aswani market use to say they carried their sack of okirika from Cotonou.
Ahh!! Mogbe! it dawned on me that there was no plane, no airport, all there was was cabu cabu and passport. My brother saw how disappointed I was. He asked me not to be woebegone as Cotonou was like America and usually very cold. I nodded. He gave me a bundle of currency that wasnt in agreement with dollar bills. He called it cefa, the currency used in Benin Republic. He further gave me the number of his female friend who would pick me up and allow me her place till I got my own apartment.
Eventually I got into the cabu cabu. my brother had left and I was amidst two fat market women. The one on my left was eating smoked fish. The one on my right had snored her way to Mount Everest even before the journey started. I sat there trying to remember that verse of the Bible that asked us to forgive and forget as that was the only excuse that could stop me from disowning my brother for trying to alter my destiny.
…….to be continued……